Last season, the Evanston Township High School football team finished the regular season with a 6-3 record and advanced to the Class 8A playoffs. In the playoffs, the Kits took on Fremd and lost, ending last season on a sour note. This season, the Kits hoped to advance further in postseason play.
After losing this season to archrival New Trier on Oct. 14, the Kits record stood at 4-4 overall heading into the final week of the season. The Kits were in a must-win situation against Central Suburban League South rival Niles West. All non-conference champions must win at least five games to be eligible for the postseason, based on playoff points, which are combined victories by their opponents.
On Oct. 21 against Niles West, the Kits ended the regular season with a victory, shutting out the Wolves, 34-0, giving them five victories on the season. That made them eligible for postseason play. The next day, the Kits got the official news that they would be playing postseason football, having been named one of 256 playoff-bound teams.
With the win, the Kits became eligible for the postseason for the second straight year – the first time since 1997-98 that the Kits would make back-to-back playoff appearances. Even though it happened in the final week, they were good to go, with high expectations this year after losing in the first round last year.
“We did not want it to come down to the final week, but that is the position we put ourselves into. We felt good about our playoff points [going into the Niles West game],” said head coach Mike Burzawa. “It is a good feeling, but by no means are we satisfied with making the playoffs. We want to compete and be able to do something in the playoffs.”
In the first round of the Class 8A playoffs on Oct. 29, the 16-seeded Kits took on undefeated and top-seeded Loyola Academy and lost, 35-0, ending their season earlier than they had hoped.
In that game, the Kits totaled just 68 yards and struggled to move the ball on offense, with their first first-down in the game occurring with less than two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The Kits were unable to avenge themselves on the Ramblers for the August season-opener, when Loyola shut out the Kits, 40-0. In the two meetings this season, the Ramblers outscored the Kits, 75-0.
The Kits will certainly have a new look next season, as they will lose 28 seniors to graduation, including running back Ray Bahr, quarterback Max Block and linebacker Leonard Garron. But if all goes to plan, look for the Kits to be in position for a third straight postseason appearance at the end of the 2012 season.